Wisconsin’s Attorney General is on the Ballot This Fall. But What Does He Do?

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Christina Lorey, Cherita Booker

September 22, 2022

Read this, and you’ll be able to explain to your friends why they shouldn’t skip over this important statewide race.

Abortion rights, public safety, the climate crisis, and more are on the ballot this November. So are Tony Evers and Tim Michels, plus Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes.

But another, often overlooked race, can have just as big of an impact on your life as who we send to the Governor’s Mansion or the US Capitol.

And many people know nothing about it!

What the Attorney General Is
Sometimes referred to as the “People’s Lawyer,” the Attorney General is the state’s chief legal officer. Every state has their own, and most are elected, not appointed. In Wisconsin, the AG serves a four-year term.

What the Attorney General Does
Wisconsin’s Attorney General is mainly responsible for: enforcing state laws, giving legal opinions, protecting trust funds, certifying bonds, and reporting to the legislature. The AG also represents the governor and can file lawsuits against state laws on his or her behalf.

Meet the Current Attorney General
Josh Kaul is wrapping up his first four-year term as Wisconsin’s Attorney General. Kaul made headlines his first year in office after suing Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, alleging the company downplayed addiction risks. As attorney general, Kaul has also advocated for universal background checks and a red-flag law that would allow family members and police officers to take guns from people who might pose a threat. His office launched a statewide sexual assault kit tracking system for victims of assault.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Kaul made national headlines by defending the state’s election and protecting Wisconsin’s voters from becoming disenfranchised as Republicans tried to overturn the results.

Kaul most recently exercised his power in June, filing a lawsuit against the state’s 1849 abortion ban. If a Republican is elected this November, they will have the power to drop that lawsuit and re-enforce the ban.

FUN FACT: Kaul’s mom, Peg Lautenschlager, also served as Wisconsin’s Attorney General. She lost the Democratic nomination in her 2006 primary, and died in 2018, more than a decade after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Bottom Line
The work of the Attorney General has an impact on your daily life, your rights, and your vote. Don’t skip over this important race when you’re in the voting booth this November.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

  • Cherita Booker

    Milwaukee native Cherita Booker attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in various roles as a multimedia journalist since 2017. She enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.



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